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Everything You Need to Know About Working as a Social Media Manager

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Social Media Manager? Isn’t that what I do every day? Just today I posted food pics of my breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Instagram, wrote a status update about my cat on Facebook, and pinned a picture of my DIY purse made out of duct tape onto my Crafting Style Pinterest board. People get paid to do this?

Well kind of, but not exactly. A Social Media Manager is a serious and important member of any organization or company. They are in charge of increasing the brand awareness and expanding the company’s audience. Yes, they are on the networks that everyone else is constantly reminded to stay off of during office hours, but instead of posting videos of Harlem Shakes and talking babies, they are educating their company’s followers about their product and building relationships with these followers on the company’s behalf.

Check out the How to Become a Social Media Marketing Specialist infographic from Schools.com for a quick breakdown of the education and skills you’ll need to succeed as a social media manager.

A Social Media Manager needs to:

  • Identify what the company is looking to gain from its social media presence and determine objectives. A good Social Media Manager will also have a general knowledge of how the company functions as a whole. Understanding how a business works financially will allow a Social Media Manager to better comprehend what the company’s needs are.

  • Research other industry players, social media trends, and use analytics to measure the traffic generated by each of their networks.

  • Create a strategy for accomplishing the goals that the company has set using the data they have gathered through their research.

  • Handle crises and disasters with grace and competence.

On a daily basis a Social Media Manager:

  • Makes sure that all social media accounts are kept active. A “dead” account will give off the impression that the company doesn’t care much about its followers.

  • Keeps an eye on social media trends. Knows what is up and coming and reports on trends. Measures the traffic from each social media network.

  • Finds relevant articles and content to share with their followers.

  • Hosts social media campaigns like giveaways and contests.

  • Keeps up a relationship with other industry players through different social media platforms. Keeps an eye out for mentions of their brand.

  • Engages in conversation and responds to complaints.
  • Uses analytics to determine the success of posts and campaigns.

  • Responds to negative press, crises, and disasters. (More on this in Digiday’s “The Social Media Manager Grows Up” article.)

Traditional advertising methods have started to diminish. Social Media is the new and successful way for companies to expand their brand. The Catalyst Partnership asks “What’s YOUR Social Media Marketing Strategy?” Their YouTube video includes some interesting stats to show why social media is such an important step for businesses to take and why Social Media Managers are in high demand.

So you might be wondering… what would my job be like if I worked as a social media manager?

The answer is: it depends. Some companies employ one Social Media Manager while others have entire Social Media Teams. If you will be working as the Social Media Manager on a marketing team, not only will you be managing the social media sites, but you may also need to manage other people. This can make the job easier or more difficult. On the one hand, you might not be directly responsible for every social media account. This means you can take the time to focus on one or two. On the other hand, it can be time-consuming to dictate instructions for the other team members and strategize a plan to keep track of everything.

Some companies are more experienced in the world of social media than others. One company may have established policies and guidelines while another is still finding its footing using social media. The amount of freedom and direction you have will vary depending on the company.

Most of Generation Y has a good grasp on the world of social media (a lot more of a grasp than these 18 Parents Who Haven’t Figured Out The Internet) but to be a Social Media Manager, you have to be able to organize and apply those skills to the company you work for. Creating a realistic and well-researched strategy that will promote and encourage company growth is an important part of separating a Social Media Manager from some girl who has 100K followers because she posts pictures of herself in a bikini.

As with any job, there are pros and cons to the position.

Pros:

+ Great opportunities to use your creativity. Understand what a client wants and come up with innovative and unique strategies for campaigns.

+ Get to keep up with the latest trends. You are paid to know what is popular and fun at that moment.

Cons:

- Deadlines can be very stressful. There’s a lot of pressure to create awesome strategies and complete projects in a very limited amount of time.

- You’re also under the scrutiny of not just the company you work for, but potentially millions of people. A PR crisis can happen if a member of the social media team is not being careful and quadruple-checking their work. Just look at what happened on the Red Cross’s Twitter account. Luckily enough, the members social media team for The Red Cross are quick on their fingers and were able to turn what could have been a huge PR disaster into a great fundraiser (with the help of Dogfish Head Craft Brewing).

One of the great things about working in social media is that it doesn’t necessarily require any specific degree or academic background. We compiled this list of the top ten majors applying for social media positions on AfterCollege.

Top Ten Majors Applying For Social Media Positions

Marketing

Communication

Business Administration

English

Sociology

Journalism

Graphic Design/Multimedia

Finance

Economics

Public Relations

I love the fact that there are majors that aren’t obvious candidates for Social Media Managers. I don’t immediately picture creatively designed campaigns when I think of Finance and Economics majors. Still, who in our generation has not been exposed to social media in one form or another? Having a working knowledge of social media along with a financial background actually gives a candidate the advantage of understanding the company from a multi-dimensional standpoint.

Homework time! Are you interested in a career in social media? Start looking for brands whose social media presence you admire. Pay attention to their tone, images, and interaction with others. Keep track of specific examples. This will be great information to share with potential employers in your cover letters and job interviews.

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